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The Art of Dog: Cover Artist Anna Hamilton Fields.

Every cover of The New Barker dog magazine has featured an original work of art by a different artist, since our first issue debut in December 2006. The current issue, Summer/Fall 2017, is by Anna Hamilton Fields. Using acrylic, the portrait of Captain and Costa was created in Sepia tones, using only shades of browns.

Anna Hamilton Fields grew up in Saratoga Springs, New York. She has been drawing and painting since she was a child. As a youth, her summers were spent drawing horses at the local thoroughbred track and using her own pets as subjects. Her love of art continued through school, followed by attendance at the The Sage Colleges for Fine Arts and Art Therapy. After college, Anna moved to Williamsburg, Virginia where she started drawing pastel portraits at theme parks and events while continuing to paint children and animal portraits.

When she moved to Dunedin, Florida in 1999, Anna started doing murals for a local faux finishing company. Realizing this was her niche, she started her own business. Soon many of the small businesses in Dunedin had Anna painting murals for them. Local residents began hiring Anna to paint in their homes. Word spread and soon Anna’s murals were popping up all over the Bay Area. Now she works with a high end interior design firm doing custom wall finishes and continues to work with her own clients to make their homes and businesses beautiful.

Anna considers the Dogedin dog wall on Skips Bar and Grill in downtown Dunedin to be one of her greatest achievements. More than 400 people have donated to Dunedin Dog Rescue to have their pets’ portraits painted on the mural. That mural has spawned a new way to help people and their pets. In late 2010 Anna and her friend, Dawn Catacchio founded Murals for Mutts, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization that raises money for animal welfare by painting pet portraits and pet murals in communities around the country.

Dunedin_DogWall
Mural on the exterior wall of Skip’s Bar & Grill, Dunedin, FL

What I’ve Learned. Anna Hamilton, In Her Words. Since much of my artwork is done outdoors, I use acrylic, water-based paint because it dries faster.

My career as an artist began at Busch Gardens-Williamsburg, drawing pastel portraits of visitors to the park. At the same time, I began doing custom art — pet and people portraits in pastel. Ancestors on my father’s side of the family were illustrators and painters, so I guess you could say I was born to be an artist.

My favorite childhood pet was Annie, a Cairn Terrier. She claimed me and was very protective of me. She could throw a tennis ball by popping it with her teeth. It once landed the ball right in my cereal bowl. Luke, a rescued Pit-Bull mix, has been the leader of our pack since 2012. He oversees five cats, including his favorite, Mini. Luke and Mini play and snuggle while the others probably think he is just a big dumb cat.

In my home studio, Luke is always by my side and two cats are always in there as well. A studio at home is great because it allows me to paint anytime I want. I sometimes listen to music via Pandora on my phone when painting murals. In my studio, the TV is usually on in the background — Investigative Discovery Channel or Forensic Files are my guilty pleasures.

PCAS_Wall
Mural, interior wall, at Pinellas County Animal Services.

Projects I’m working on now: Illustrating Dunedin author Joseph Sedona’s new book, Musical Mayhem. It’s the second book we’ve worked on together, the first being The Magic Westinheimer. Also, ongoing murals at Pinellas County Animal Services and Pet Pal Animal Shelter in St. Petersburg.

Making sure the pets are happy first is how I start my day. Then for mural work, it’s imperative that the car is loaded properly — ladder, paint, photos, brushes, drop cloths, chalk level, etc. — or it can really mess up my day, having to find something at a paint or hardware store.

As a painter, all the colors in my palette are important, but red and turquois are my favorites. I watched the original movie version of Moulin Rouge and became intrigued by the artist, Toulouse Lautrec. I have often thought of what it might be like to have known him.

IMG_4469
Mural inside Swah-Rey Dessert Bar, St. Petersburg, Florida.

It’s inspiring to know so many selfless people who work in animal rescue.It can be a thankless effort at times, but so necessary and even courageous.

Everett_Dogs_LAS_Outtake
Behind the scenes of a cover shoot with Captain and Costa  Everett.

ABOUT CAPTAIN & COSTA – During the Mad Hatters Tea Party, a fundraising event for Frankie’s Friends at Eddie V’s in Tampa, Julie Everett and her family bid on and won an opportunity to have their dogs’ portraits painted for a cover of The New Barker dog magazine. Laura Allen Studios photographed the dogs for us at Julie’s Tampa home for this issue’s cover. Their portrait was painted by Anna Fields. The two dogs were complete gentlemen during their photo session. Julie described Captain as always having a smile on his face. “He wants to cuddle with everyone and loves to play with the other dogs,” said Julie. “He is the captain of our home.” Costa can be described as tall, dark and handsome. “He is the laid back and chill member of our family,” said Julie. “He loves the water and will swim for hours if we let him. Costa can be a little reserved, but once you get to know him, his adorable personality comes out. Both dogs love each other and are inseparable.” Frankie’s Friends was created under another name in 1999 by Tampa veterinarian Dr. Neil Shaw, co-founder of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. He formed the non-profit to help provide health care to pets whose families could not afford the necessary treatment. In 2005, the DeBartolo Family Foundation offered to support Shaw’s vision with a substantial donation, following the death of the family’s beloved Greyhound, Frankie. FrankiesFriends.org

Anna’s Contact information For inquiries about dog walls or animal paintings, contact muralsformutts@gmail.com For home or business murals or artwork, contact annaartist10@gmail.com. MuralsForMutts.com

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